Structured Development of Problem Solving Methods
Published: 1998 April
Buchtitel: Proceedings of the 11th Workshop on Knowledge Acquisition, Modeling, and Management (KAW '98), Banff, Canada
Problem solving methods (PSMs) are domain-independent reasoning components, which specify patterns of behavior which can be reused across applications. While the availability of extensive PSM libraries and the emerging consensus on PSM specification languages indicate the maturity of the field, a number of important research issues are still open. In particular, very little progress has been achieved on foundational and methodological issues. Existing libraries of PSMs lack a clear theoretical basis and only provide weak support for the method development process, usually in the form of informal guidelines. In this paper we will address these issues by illustrating a framework which characterizes PSMs in terms of problem commitments, problem-solving paradigms and domain assumptions. This framework provides i) a theoretical foundation for situating PSM research and individual PSMs, as well as ii) an organization which allows us to characterize method development and selection as a process of navigating through a three-dimensional space (defined by the three components of our framework). Individual moves through this space are specified by means of adapters. In the paper we will illustrate these ideas in detail, with examples taken from parametric design problem solving.